All Change!

Something has arisen which has compromised my anonymity here.  There are people reading who I would prefer not to share my blog with.   So, with regret, I won’t be posting on WHAMH any longer.

The good news is that it’s not the end – it’s just a move.

All new posts will be at my new little corner of the internet.  If you’d like to continue to read, please leave a comment on this post and I will email you the new link.

See you on the other side!

My Life In Instagram

I’ve been sent these Pharmaton Active Life pills to try out by Bzzagent – apparently they’ll give me lots of energy.  Hasn’t happened yet!

Went to see Anna Karenina at the cinema last week.  Although the story was told in quite an odd way (think part-musical, part film, part stage play), it was visually beautiful and I enjoyed it.

Reg was feeling rather under the weather last week, and spent almost all his time dozing on the stairs.  He seems to have perked up now, though.

The blue and green bowl my brother and SIL gave me for my birthday goes perfectly with the new decor in the breakfast room.

Treated myself to a new Clarins lipgloss after losing 5 lbs last week.

When Ashley cleaned out the hot tub last weekend, I’m not sure this is what was meant to happen …


Ashley bought me flowers because he felt guilty leaving me alone at the weekend while he and Will went camping.  Ahh, bless!

Healthy (and totally delicious) steak dinner.

Still laughing at this birthday card from William.

Playing on the rope swing during a walk along the river at Bovey Tracy.

Gorgeous early morning sky taken from my bedroom window.

My current mid-morning tea of choice.





(Not Very) Many Happy Returns

As you get older, your birthday holds less excitement and expectation than it does as a child.  Nevertheless,  it’s still your special day and it’s nice to have a bit of a fuss made of you and, of course, to receive cards and gifts from your loved ones.

I always ensure that my friends and relatives receive well chosen, thoughtful gifts and cards in good time for their birthday.  At the beginning of each year, I write all the birthdays I need to remember on the wall calendar, and that way I know who I need to buy for and nobody gets forgotten.  Hardly rocket science, is it?

So, about a month ago, I found Ashley hunting in the filing cabinet in my office.  I asked him what he was looking for.  Passports, he says.  Why, I ask.  Turns out he’s checking when my birthday is.

CHECKING WHEN MY BIRTHDAY IS?  He’s been married to me for sixteen frickin’ years, does he seriously need to look at my passport to check when my birthday is?

Earlier that day, I’d seen my brother and sister-in-law, and they’d given me my birthday present, as it was too big to post and they don’t live locally.  I’d put it away in the spare room, as my birthday isn’t until the end of August, and Ashley had seen it and panicked that he’d forgotten my birthday!

Several years ago, my mother- and father-in-law completely forgot my birthday. They phoned up a couple of days later, absolutely oblivious, had a chat, asked what we’d been doing.  Celebrating my birthday last Sunday, says I.   Long silence on the other end of the phone.   Oh, did we miss it?  I was very hurt and upset at the time.

Last night I had mother-in-law and aunt-in-law over for dinner.  We were talking about various people’s ages at one point in the conversation, and I said that I wasn’t looking forward to being 44 next week.  Next week?  says MIL in tones of horror.  Oh.  I always think your birthday’s in September.  Oh, so you’d forgotten again, had you?  Nice.  She then goes on to say that she wouldn’t mind at all if somebody forgot her birthday, because ‘they’d remember eventually’.  I said that I simply did not believe that if Ashley failed to even telephone and wish her a happy birthday on the actual day, that she wouldn’t be upset.  She tried to deny it, but the wind was taken out of her sails when Ashley’s aunt piped up ‘Yes, you would, you’d be devastated.’

I have a close friend whose birthday is a couple of weeks before mine.  She lives about five miles away, and I always either give her her card and present sometime before her birthday if we’re getting together in the couple of weeks beforehand, or deliver it to her house on her birthday or the day before.

Sadly, she doesn’t afford me the same courtesy and seems to think it’s acceptable to give me my present and card whenever she sees me after my birthday.  Once it was October.

To me, that’s unacceptable.

My other sister-in-law completely forgot William’s birthday in February this year.  Last month was her daughter’s birthday, and I sent a card (on time of course).

Last week I had a text from sister-in-law saying that she hadn’t thanked me for her daughter’s present as she’d only received a card, and had I left the present elsewhere (presumably she meant at her ex-husband’s house).

I replied saying that I’d assumed we were no longer bothering with presents for the kids as she hadn’t sent anything at all on William’s birthday, but that I felt I wanted to send a card to my niece, so I had done.

To be fair, she was very apologetic and said that she couldn’t believe she’d forgotten about it.

My side of the family always remember birthdays and ensure gifts and cards arrive on time.  But it seems we are in the minority these days.

To me, the very act of giving timely gifts and cards is a statement of your love/friendship/affection for the recipient.  Forgetting completely or giving something weeks after the event just says in foot high words ‘you are of very little importance to me’.

My husband is also in my bad books birthday-wise.  We are off to Spain with hand luggage only to keep travel costs down tomorrow, hence I shan’t have any presents to open on my birthday, but will have cards.   I mentioned to Ashley last weekend that it would be nice if he’d take Will shopping to choose a card for me.  I know, pititful that I have to even ask, he should think of it himself, but he doesn’t.  Guess what, we’re off tomorrow morning, he’s at work all day today, and he hasn’t taken William shopping.  Nice.

If you’ve got to the end of this self-pitying rant and are still reading, well done.

I’d love to know other people’s thoughts on this – am I unreasonable in my expectations?

Five Things That Are Annoying Me Today

1.  My hopelessly unreliable broadband.  The speed is up and down like a whore’s drawers, if you’ll pardon the expression.  One minute it’s fine, the next it’s completely dead.  Tesco, my broadband supplier, blame BT: ‘It’s a problem at your local exchange, love’.  BT, unsurprisingly, blame Tesco: ‘No problems with your line, madam, contact your internet service provider”.  And so it goes on.

2.   Christmas cards in August.  I went into a card shop to purchase a birthday card yesterday, and there was a HUGE display of Christmas cards.   Before the kids have even gone back to school.  WTF?!


3.   Lack of housework and mess everywhere.  At this stage of the summer holidays, I always feel a bit like this, sort of like the post Christmas/New Year feeling.  I’m looking forward to getting back to normal routine and getting my house clean and tidy again!

4.   Posing photos on Facebook.  Is it really necessary to put a whole bunch of photos of yourself on Facebook like this one?  Is it not just a little bit vain and showy-offy, even if you’ve got a lovely figure? (Dreadful skin, though.  Dreadful.  Just saying.)


Oh, and she’s not the only one.

I get that teenagers like to publish this sort of pic of themselves, but these are both women in their late 30s.  Get a grip.

5.   I’ve Got A Lovely Bunch of Coconuts.  Not pertaining to the above picture in any way, I hasten to add.  Ashley started singing this on Saturday, a propos of nothing, and it’s been going round inside my head ever since.  JUST.  GO.  AWAY.

What’s bugging you at the moment?



The Power of Twitter


It was only a few days ago that I was thinking what a huge time-drain social networking can be, and I’ve also been contemplating giving up Facebook for a while.  But I’m pleased to say that just this morning I had a bit of a result, directly from using Twitter.

One of the many “joys” (*note sarcastic tone*) of living in the back end of nowhere is that broadband provision is slow, costly, and there is minimal choice when it comes to suppliers.  I’ve been with Tesco for about eight years now, and I’ve generally found their service OK, although my monthly bill, just for broadband, is £25.  I chose their most expensive package as I needed unlimited downloads and the best speed they had available.  Which was 2 mb/s.  Yes, laughable, I know.

Tesco recently wrote to me saying they were upgrading their broadband services, and I’m pleased to say that the speed has almost doubled to around 3.5 mb/s.

However, I noticed yesterday that they have rejigged all their broadband packages, and that the most expensive package now is £14 per month.  So I phoned them up, and asked if I could be swapped onto that package.

No, you can’t, came the answer.

Why not?  I asked, fairly reasonably I thought.

Because you’re an existing customer and we don’t have any offers for existing customers.

I don’t want an offer, I just don’t want to pay an extra £11 per month for exactly the same service that other people are getting for £11 less!

Sorry, madam, nothing we can do.  But I’ll note your complaint.

To say I came off the phone steaming would be an understatement.  I was livid.

And I tweeted about it.

Lo and behold, first thing this morning, I had a tweet from Dean at Tesco Broadband, asking for further details, and by lunchtime today, I had been switched to the £14 per month package!!

On the one hand, it’s ridiculous that I had to resort to naming and shaming via Social Media in order to get something done, but on the other, that Twitter’s a marvellous thing, isn’t it?


This & That In Instagram

Wow, the holidays are just racing past – I can’t believe they’re more than half over already.  Less than a month now until Will goes back to school.  As usual during the summer break, the house is a tip, my eBay sales have ground to a halt due to lack of time, any form of organisation as far as meal planning and shopping has gone out of the window and the weather is bloody appalling!

And, frankly, who cares?  We’re having a great summer break!

Here are a selection of my Instagram pics from the last couple of weeks:

Will and his friends enjoying lunch al fresco in Torquay on one of the rare sunny days we’ve had this summer.

Pre-dinner champagne and canapes at my brother and sister-in-law’s before heading out for dinner to celebrate my brother’s 40th birthday.  I won’t foist the drunken five-hours-later pics on you, but they’re bloody funny!

Loved this entry for our annual village scarecrow competition, poking out of the upstairs window of a house round the corner from us.

One of my favourite tree pics so far this summer.

Apple and banana tarte tatin, as made by our very talented Head Chef at Findon Manor.

Oysters.  Not my bag, but they looked lovely, and those who ate them assured me they tasted good too.

Woolly winter socks.  In August.  Mental, I know.

Glittery nails.  Every girl loves a bit of sparkle.

William and I have been undertaking some epic walks this summer, exploring new places in the countryside close to home.

Brilliant school report – so proud of my boy, who’s worked immensely hard this year at school.

Taken on one of our walks last week.  Somewhere on the edge of Dartmoor.

Beautiful flowers bought by our dinner guests on the evening of the Olympics Opening Ceremony.

Becky Falls on Dartmoor.  Will and his friend Jamie had a great time clambering across the river via the rocks and fallen trees.  It took me back to my childhood, doing exactly the same in the same place.

Will is at karate summer school for three days this week from 10 until 3, which gives me a much-needed few hours to get some bits and bobs done around the house.  This morning I did some ironing and sorted through a month and half of paperwork which had accumulated in my office.

I can’t believe that it’s only two weeks on Saturday until we’re off to Spain.  Mad.

Right, off to clean the loos.  The excitement never stops in this house, I tell ya.

Loving The Olympics

The last week and a half has been manically busy, though very enjoyable, and it was nice to get home last night after a few days away, firstly celebrating my brother’s 40th birthday, then on up to the hotel for a couple of days’ work for Ashley and leisure for myself and William.

Now I am not a sports fan by any stretch of anybody’s imagination – you may occasionally find me tuning into Wimbledon, but that’s about the extent of my interest as a rule.   But something about the Olympics has always just caught my imagination, and I’ve been looking forward to London 2012 ever since the moment seven years ago on a flight from London to Havana when the pilot announced that he had just heard that the UK had been successful in their bid to host the Olympics, and a huge cheer went up through the plane.

Sadly, I wasn’t lucky enough to get any tickets – I would LOVE to have been there for something, anything really, in person, but that hasn’t dampened my enthusiasm at all.

I must mention the AMAZING opening ceremony, which we watched at home on Friday evening with friends – adults and children alike mesmerised by Danny Boyle’s triumphant spectacle from start to finish.  To be honest, beforehand I wasn’t that interested in the opening ceremony – to me, the Olympics is all about the sport – but even I was totally blown away by the sheer brilliance of it.  It was all absolutely stunning, but my favourite bit was this …

Just fabulous.

And as for the sport?  I am LOVING the morning to night media coverage of everything from archery to wrestling.  I think the BBC are doing an amazing job, and I was moved to tears this morning as Team GB won their first gold medal of the Games.

I’ve just watched Bradley Wiggins wipe the floor with the competition and win our second gold as well – yay!!

2012 was always going to be a big year for Britain, what with the Queen’s Golden Jubilee and the Olympics within a couple of months of each other, but really – and people can say what they like about the Brits – but by God, we know how to put on a bit of do, don’t we?  It’s not often I feel moved to say that I’m proud to be British, but right at the moment –